While there is no specific guideline or deadline as to when you have to hire an accident injury attorney, especially after a car accident injury, it is very important to engage the services of an accident injury lawyer shortly after the accident. You do not want to go without counsel during any part of the process and you can usually hire a lawyer on a contingency basis. Chances are strong that there are going to be have to be conversations with your lawyer regarding your medical bills and your property damage. Your accident injury lawyer and accident injury law firm will make sure that the medical bills are paid and that the property damage claim to your vehicle is paid in a timely fashion so you can get your car back on the road. The time to start that process is right after you leave the emergency room or are released by the accident investigation team that arrives to set up the driver information exchange for your accident. If you have a medical malpractice claim, time is of the essence. There are state statutes that require you to put the doctor on notice within a specific period of time. If you believe that you are a victim of medical malpractice, you should engage counsel as soon as you can.
Medical malpractice claims take time and also require a lot of work on the lawyer’s behalf. The more time that you give them to work your case, the better off you will be. In some cases, accident injury law firm may also have medical personnel on staff that can evaluate your claim and tell you what type of personal injury claim you have and also interpret the medical records that they receive from your physicians and serve as a buffer between you and the physicians. They will also be able to make sure that you are receiving the best personal care for your injuries and best serve your personal injury case by being thorough and professional. Accident injury lawyers often have investigative staff at their disposal that can help with your personal injury claim. They can help recreate the accident and use the information at trial, or in negotiations with the carrier to get you the best possible settlement or verdict. Private investigators are just as important as the personal injury attorneys as they arm the personal injury lawyer with the information necessary to pursue your claim.
Accident Statute of Limitations
A “statute of limitations” is a state law that sets a strict time limit on your right to bring a lawsuit to court. The statute of limitations does not apply to a car insurance claim. Any insurance company, whether your own or the other driver’s, is going to require you to make a claim or at least give the insurer notice of an incident that could trigger a claim “promptly” or “within a reasonable time” after the accident. That usually means a few days at most. In Utah, there are a few different lawsuit filing deadlines that could come into play after a vehicle accident. First, for car accident injuries, Utah gives you four years to ask Utah’s civil court system for a remedy. So, in the context of a car accident, any injury claim filed by a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, bicyclist, electric scooter rider, or pedestrian will be subject to this deadline, and the “clock” starts running on the date of the accident.
If anyone was killed as a result of the car accident, Utah sets a two-year statute of limitations deadline for any wrongful death claim that might be brought by the deceased person’s family or representatives. And it’s important to keep in mind that for these kinds of claims, the two-year “clock” starts running on the date of the accident victim’s death (as opposed to the date of the accident itself). Finally, if anyone had their vehicle or other property damaged as a result of a car accident, Utah Code section 78B-2-305 says that any lawsuit over that damage must be filed within three years of the date of the vehicle accident. Whichever of these deadlines applies, if you try to file your car accident lawsuit after the applicable time limit has passed, you can count on the defendant (the person you’re trying to sue) pointing out that discrepancy to the court as part of a motion to dismiss. The court will almost certainly grant the motion (unless some rare exception applies to extend the filing deadline), and that will be the end of your case. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how the statute of applies to your situation. Even if you’re confident that your case will be resolved through the car insurance claim process, you’ll want to leave yourself plenty of time to file a lawsuit in case you need to if for no other reason than that you’ll have more leverage during settlement talks. If you think you might be running up against the filing deadline, you may want to contact an experienced Utah car accident attorney.
Steps To Reach Settlement In A Personal Injury Case
A settlement is an agreement between an injured person and an insurance company or person responsible for causing the injury by which the responsible person/insurance company agrees to pay a sum of money and the injured person agrees to accept the offer. A settlement is reached through the process of negotiation. In general, an injured person will make a demand for a sum of money, and in response, the responsible party/insurance company will make an offer to pay a lesser amount of money. Through the process of negotiation with an experienced accident lawyer, the injured party gradually reduces their demand and the responsible party/insurance company gradually increases their offer. A settlement is reached if the responsible party/insurance company agrees to pay a sum of money, which the injured party is willing to accept. When a settlement is accepted the responsible party/insurance company issues a settlement check in exchange for a Release. A Release is basically a contract by which the responsible party/insurance company agrees to pay a certain sum of money to the injured party and the injured party agrees to make no further claim against the responsible party/insurance company. When a settlement is rejected a lawsuit is commenced, or if a lawsuit is already pending when the offer is made, the decision is made to continue the case to a jury trial. At a trial, the jury will determine what amount the responsible party/insurance company must pay to compensate the injured person and the injured person must accept the amount as determined by the jury. An attorney helps with this process by first evaluating the manner in which an individual was injured, in other words, considering who was at fault in causing the injury. An attorney will also work with treating physicians to obtain medical reports accurately documenting the injured party’s condition. An attorney will then also determine what effects an injury will have on an individual, including medical expenses that may be incurred in the future. An evaluation will also be made as to the effect injuries have on an individual’s ability to return to their prior employment or earn other income. An attorney will analyze settlement offers in comparison to what a jury would likely award at trial. This analysis is based on the attorney’s experience with prior settlements and verdicts of similar personal injury cases.
Resolution Before Trial
The majority of legal claims arising from accidents or injuries do not reach a civil court trial. Typically, they are resolved earlier in the litigation process through a negotiated settlement among the parties. Sometimes an informal settlement can take place before any lawsuit is even filed. Through settlement, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) agrees to give up the right to pursue any further legal action in connection with the accident or injury, in exchange for payment of an agreed-upon sum of money from the defendant or an insurance company. In rare cases, instead of paying money, the defendant will agree to perform or stop performing a certain action. If you are thinking about settling a legal claim after an accident or injury, or if you have received a settlement offer from the opposing side, you may want to talk to an attorney. It’s important to get his or her thorough assessment of the case and opinion about the likelihood of settlement. When meeting with your attorney you should consider and discuss the following points:
Strength of the Case
• Jury verdicts and settlement outcomes in similar cases;
• Your chances of winning at trial;
• Practical difficulties in trying the case;
• Strengths and weaknesses in your evidence; and
• Strength and weaknesses in your opponent’s evidence.
Money and Damages
• What your attorney thinks the case may be worth in a range of dollar amounts and what he or she thinks you could receive in damages at trial;
• The minimum amount you will accept to end the case and avoid trial;
• The policy limits of the defendant’s insurance coverage; and
• The defendant’s own monetary resources.
Criminal Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
The criminal penalties for a hit and run vary from state to state. Many states classify the criminal penalties for a hit and run as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances. Felony hit and run is defined by most states as leaving the scene of an accident where there is any type of injury to a person, whether the injured person is a pedestrian or an occupant of a vehicle. The penalties for felony hit and run can be quite severe. Most states impose fines of between $5,000 and $20,000. And there is very real potential for incarceration as punishment for a felony hit and run. Depending on the nature of the accident and the injuries that resulted, in some states a felony hit and run is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Remember, a hit and run might be classified as a misdemeanor instead of a felony. While the term “misdemeanor” sounds relatively minor to some people, in most states misdemeanors are punishable by a significant fine of up to $5,000 and also by up to one year in jail. In addition to the criminal penalties for hit and run, almost every state imposes administrative penalties related to your driver’s license. These penalties are often imposed through the individual state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Any conviction for hit and run regardless of whether it’s for a felony or misdemeanor, typically results in an automatic suspension or revocation of your driver’s license for a period of six months or so. In some states the revocation can be as long as three years. Depending on the state, in which you live, and the nature and circumstances of the car accident in which you were involved, the penalty for hit and run may include a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license. These administrative penalties are in addition to any criminal punishment that might be imposed for hit and run.
Utah Accident Law
There’s no denying that building a personal injury claim is a difficult and complex process. One mistake or slip-up can endanger your entire injury case, possibly even leaving you with empty-handed. Insurance providers purposely write their policies to be as complicated and puzzling to read as possible. They do this so they can deny your claim for any reason they can find. The best way to guarantee you get the best settlement for your personal injury claim is to hire a car accident lawyer who fully knows the ins and outs of Utah law and won’t fall for the usual tricks and tactics used by the insurance companies.
Here are just a few legal issues you might expect to encounter once you begin your accident injury claim:
• Disputed Liability: One of the strategies insurance companies attempt is to refuse liability for your accident. They will argue that the accident was your fault and not the fault of their insured client. This is called disputed liability and without the right kind of evidence, it is virtually impossible to prove liability.
• Property Damage Claims: One of the biggest potential setbacks auto injury victims face following an accident is their vehicle being damaged or, worse, totaled beyond repair. No one wants to rely on their family or friends to get around town and public transportation can be a nightmare.
How to Handle Your Own Accident Claim
Handling your own injury claim without a lawyer is something worth at least exploring. But if you choose this path, you need to do research and get some advice on the best way to get the highest possible settlement for the pain and suffering you have endured from the accident. You deserve that. Severe injury and death car crash cases are completely another matter. Hiring a good car accident lawyer with a track record of success will almost invariably put more money in your pocket than you would handle the case yourself. This cannot be emphasized enough. When you need to call a lawyer depends on the size of the case. In a wrongful death or catastrophic injury case, we are going to be gathering evidence from day one. You do not leave any stones unturned in these cases. Because the stakes and the amount of money involved is too high. But in small cases where lawyers are not going to be gathering evidence and getting experts immediately, there is more likely to be more time for reflection. Measure twice and cut once. Still, if you are going to get a lawyer, it is always better to get one sooner rather than later because even a small case might need immediate action. (Most common immediate need: get witness statements.) If you are going to take the risk and delay, do not talk to anyone about how the incident happened or the extent and scope of the injuries.
Documents to Show your Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may be thinking about hiring an attorney, or you may have already retained an attorney to represent you. In either case, there are certain documents your attorney will want to see to develop a full understanding of your case and your chance for a recovery. The following is a list of documents that your attorney may want to have during the course of your case:
• Your Insurance Policy: If you have an automobile insurance policy, your attorney will want to see a copy of it in order to review what type of an insurance recovery you may be entitled to. If you don’t have an actual copy of your policy, do not panic. Your attorney will be able to obtain one, with your approval, from your insurance company.
• Evidence of Premium Payments: Your attorney will need proof that your automobile insurance policy premiums, if you have a policy, have been paid. You should periodically receive statements or bills from your insurance company notifying you that premiums are due. Being able to provide your attorney with that correspondence, as well as evidence of your payment (through cancelled checks or a receipt, for example), will help prove that the policy is in force and “paid up.”
• Information Exchanged at the Accident Scene: Often, names and telephone numbers are exchanged between the parties to an accident while they are still at the scene. If you have this information, even if you’ve already contacted the other parties, make sure to provide it to your attorney.
• Information Provided by the Police at the Accident Scene: In many cases, the police are called to a scene of an accident. In those situations, they are required to draft an accident report, which often includes a diagram of where the various cars or pedestrians were at the time of the accident. The report will also include the on-scene officer’s initial impressions of the cause of the accident. This information is crucial in allowing your attorney to develop a total understanding of your case. Provide your attorney will a copy of the accident report or anything else drafted by the police. If you don’t have a copy of any police report, your attorney will be able to obtain one on your behalf.
• Tickets Related to the Accident: If you’ve been given a ticket related to the accident, make sure to let your attorney know. For example, if you were charged with “failure to yield,” your attorney will want to see a copy of your ticket.
• Photographs: If your car was damaged in an accident, it is a good idea to take pictures of the damage. If you did not take pictures, a representative of the insurance company may have. If you have pictures in your possession, provide them to your attorney. If you do not have pictures, but believe that the insurance company may have some; provide that information to your attorney as well.
• Statements: There is a chance, when you are involved in a car accident, that you may be contacted by a representative of your automobile insurance company. Often, the insurance company will want to obtain a statement from you about the accident. If you were contacted, you have a right to have a copy of any statement you gave. If you have a copy, give it to your attorney. If you don’t have a copy, let your attorney know that you gave a statement so he or she can obtain a copy of it for you.
• Medical Records: If you’re involved in a car accident, you may have sustained physical injuries for which you sought medical care and attention. If so, your attorney will need copies of your medical records so that he or she can see what your diagnosis is and obtain a feeling for how long it will take you to recover from your injuries. Provide your attorney with copies of any medical records that you have. If you don’t have copies of your records, provide your attorney with the name and address of any medical provider you have seen. Your attorney will be able to obtain the records, with your written permission, on your behalf.
Accident Lawyer In Utah
When you need legal help with a car accident in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506